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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 10, 2015

Arkansas Woman Sentenced in New Mexico to 60 Months in Federal Prison for Drug Trafficking Conviction

Federal Jury Convicted Defendant of Drug Trafficking Charges Arising out of Seizure of 20 Pounds of Methamphetamine and 700 Grams of Cocaine

ALBUQUERQUE – Shelia Villegas, 47, of Manila, Ark., was sentenced late yesterday afternoon in federal court to 60 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for her conviction on methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking charges.

 Villegas was arrested on April 29, 2014, on a criminal complaint alleging methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking charges.  She subsequently was indicted in a two-count indictment charging her with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

On Jan. 7, 2015, a jury returned a guilty verdict on both counts of the indictment after a two- day trial.  The evidence at trial established that on April 29, 2014, an officer of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) conducted a routine traffic stop on Villegas for failure to maintain a single lane.  After issuing a citation to Villegas, the officer asked and received Villegas’ consent to a search of her vehicle.  The officer then deployed a narcotics canine on the vehicle.  After the canine alerted and thus indicated the presence of drugs, the officer and HSI agents searched Villegas’ vehicle and found 19 bundles, 18 of which contained an aggregate of 20 pounds of methamphetamine and one which contained more than 700 grams of cocaine.

The evidence at trial included the APD officer’s recording of his encounter with Villegas.  In addition, an agent with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) testified that Villegas made a post-arrest statement in which she acknowledge that she was transporting drugs from Calif. to Ark. in exchange for $10,000.00 plus $500.00 in travel expenses.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of HSI and APD and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul Mysliwiec and Nicholas Jon Ganjei.

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Updated April 10, 2015